For a century and a half Wheelock residents have gathered at the Town Hall to discuss community issues and make community decisions. As we mark the Town Hall’s 150th anniversary, we are facing a critical decision about our future needs for town government facilities and the role of this building and site in that future. The Town Hall Accessibility Project Committee is considering two options for meeting our obligation as we develop a proposal for an accessible, code-compliant facility to house town government functions by the end of this year. We are inviting all town residents to participate in selecting the best way forward for our community.
You can view the videos above and review the plans to learn more about the two options being considered.
about the project
Wheelock has been grappling with the question of what to do about the Town Hall and Clerk’s Office for more than 15 years. The Town Hall does not fully meet accessibility and code requirements for public buildings. The town has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to address the lack of compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
The Town of Wheelock was awarded a municipal planning grant to assist with developing the mandated Town Hall Accessibility Proposal this year. With that support, the Project Committee is going back to re-examine the options and re-engage the entire Wheelock community in making this critical decision.
The Town Hall Accessibility Proposal Project will be underway throughout the calendar year. So far:
- We have established a regular meeting time for the Project Committee on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6 p.m. (virtually until announced otherwise).
- We have hired a consultant team to assist us in meeting our obligation under the DOJ settlement.
- The architect and landscape architect on that team have reviewed prior plans and studies and will be presenting recommendations for providing an accessible and affordable town government facility.
- We have been updating the information about the project on this webpage on a regular basis.
- We mailed out a survey at the end of April, following up on the response to last year’s survey with some more detailed questions. We received 80 responses. The survey results have helped the consultants and Project Committee select options for further investigation and community input.
- We held a community meeting on September 27 to present and discuss the first phase of work.
- We will be taking comments from community members on the two options presented through October 17.
what town facilities are part of the project
The primary focus of the Wheelock Town Hall Accessibility Project is the need to have accessible, code-compliant Clerk’s Office and meeting space. Prior proposals have also included new Highway Garage facilities. We will be seeking public input as to whether all three town facilities (office, meeting space, garage) should be considered together or whether the garage should be considered separately.
We conducted a community survey this spring to better understand the values, motivations and concerns of town residents on the issue of town facilities. That understanding will help us develop a proposal for an accessible, code-compliant facility to house town government functions that a majority of Wheelock voters will support. The survey report is available for download from the Project Materials box in the left sidebar or bottom of this page.
wheelock town hall timeline and document archive
Want to dig in and learn more about what has happened with the Wheelock Town Hall? Here is a timeline of events and links to many of the plans, studies, reports and more that have been prepared over the years.
- Wheelock Town Hall built
- Town Hall moved from original location on north end of the Town Common and set on a higher foundation, creating a full basement to house Clerk’s Office
- Selectboard approved putting $8,000 into a special account to possibly be used at a later date to make the downstairs of the Town Hall accessible
- Ramp constructed (does not conform to current ADA code requirements)
- Sterling Design Architects proposal: Small rear addition to Town Hall for an office, vault and bathroom with an estimated cost of $136,000
- Town awarded a $250 RSF Grant from Preservation Trust of Vermont for assessment of the Town Hall (Brown)
- Sterling Design Architects proposal: Single-story addition on side of the Town Hall for an office, bathroom, vault and lift with an estimated cost of $516,346 designed (Sterling Design Architects)
- Section 106 Review Report for proposed renovations and additions to the historic Town Hall (Colman)
- Town votes down $516,436 for the Clerk’s Office addition (as designed by Sterling Design Architects in 2006)
- Wheelock Common District (Wheelock Town Hall, Green and Cemetery) listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- Selectboard considered a 74-acre site on Route 122 for new municipal facilities
- Town votes to approve up to $150,000 to purchase land for new municipal facilities
- Define Architects proposal: two-story addition to the Town Hall (no rehab) and a separate Highway Garage with an estimated cost of $800,000
- Town buys back parcel of land next to the Town Hall that it had previously sold
- EH Danson Associates proposal: New Municipal Building(combined Clerk’s Office and Highway Garage) with an estimated cost of $1.6 mil
- Town awarded a $250 RSF Grant from Preservation Trust of Vermont for condition assessment of the Town Hall (Newman)
- Condition Assessment of the Wheelock Town Hall Report (Newman) finds serious structural problems with the roof truss system
- Town votes to authorize the Selectboard to look into financing options for up to $1.2 million for municipal facilities
- Town votes at a special meeting to approve construction of a new garage and repairs to the Town Hall (no office addition or renovation)
- Town votes against spending $300,000 to construct a new Highway Garage
- Town awarded a $250 RSF Grant from Preservation Trust of Vermont for assessment of the Town Hall roof structure
- Wheelock Town Hall Roof System Report (Lewandoski) provides recommendations for repairing structural problems with the roof truss system
- Town was not awarded a $20,000 Historic Preservation Grant from Vermont Division for Historic Preservation
- Town awarded a VCDP Planning Grant for the Wheelock Town Hall
- Town awarded a $5,000 Urgent Needs Grant for temporary stabilization of the Town Hall in response to structural problems with the roof truss system
- Town votes to approve $30,000 for repairs to the Town Hall roof truss system
- Town awarded a $50,000 Preservation Grant from the Preservation Trust of Vermont for repairs to the roof truss system
- Town awarded a $20,000 Historic Preservation Grant from VT Division for Historic Preservation for repairs to the roof truss system
- Black River Design proposal: two-story addition to the rear of the Town Hall, lift, interior rehab, kitchen with an estimated cost of $674,000
- Structural and electrical repairs made to Town Hall at a total cost of $199,704 with about $120,000 of that amount offset by grants
- Wheelock obtains a Village Center designation that includes the Town Hall and Common
- Town did not vote on proposal to spend an additional $875,000 to rehab the Town Hall, construct the addition (Black River Design), meet accessibility and code requirements
- Complaint about the Town Hall’s failure to meet accessibility requirements filed with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Town votes down Article 22 to borrow up to $800,000 to rehabilitate the Wheelock Town Hall ( Y=62 / N=102)
- Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) visited the Wheelock Town Hall, presented list of deficiencies and met with the Selectboard
- First phase of improvements to correct accessibility violations found by the DOJ completed (accessible counter, exterior lighting, signs and notices)
- Vermont Council on Rural Development facilitates two community meetings (Wheelock’s Future Report) and leads to formation of Facilities Task Force
- Town signs a Settlement Agreement with the DOJ (failure to meet the terms of the agreement could lead to the DOJ initiating civil action against the town)
- Town awarded a $2,200 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation for the Town Hall Accessibility Project
- Town awarded a $1,000 Smart Growth grant from the Vermont Natural Resource Council for the Town Hall Accessibility Project
- Wheelock residents surveyed about the Town Hall (62 responses)
- Town awarded $20,633 Municipal Planning Grant from VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development for the Wheelock Town Hall Accessibility Project
- Town must file a Town Hall Accessibility Proposal with the U.S. Department of Justice by end of year